Valentina Bongiovanni: an illustrator artisan

Mul­ti­co­lo­red, almo­st fai­ry-tale ani­mals. The­se are the main cha­rac­ters in the world of Valen­ti­na Bon­gio­van­ni, free­lan­ce illu­stra­tor, not even 30 years old, but a reso­lu­te pro­fes­sio­nal, alrea­dy with cer­tain leve­ra­ge in the sector.

After a degree at the IAAD in Tori­no, and some expe­rien­ces in Euro­pean capi­tals, like Madrid and Amster­dam, she had cho­sen the Master class in publi­shing illu­stra­tion at the Mi.Master in Mila­no. The out­co­me was then deter­mi­ned. “I’ve deci­ded to avoid the ‘new­spa­per’ world – she tells us in her stu­dio in Tori­no – I like wor­king with small and medium-sized busi­nes­ses”. Then­ce seve­ral col­la­bo­ra­tions have star­ted. The most recent one is with Beeo­pack: we toge­ther have rea­li­zed a col­lec­tion of eco­lo­gi­cal tex­ti­le films for food, whe­re the cot­ton they’re made of is soa­ked in a bee­swax mix­tu­re in order t bet­ter pre­ser­ve food­stuff. “A co-ope­ra­tion that I real­ly liked”, Valen­ti­na smi­les and fore­tells for the sum­mer the launch of an always bio­com­pa­ti­ble and eco-friend­ly col­lec­tion with a new “ocean” flavor. 

In two years of acti­vi­ty, Valen­ti­na has wor­ked with seve­ral reno­w­ned brands, such as Car­pa­no, Super­ga, Cario­ca. She has also col­la­bo­ra­ted with ‘Scar­let­Vir­go’, an impor­tant brand of bags in Mila­no, and ‘Extra­li­be­ri’, the Asso­cia­tion that employs the inma­tes of the pri­son in Tori­no, offe­ring them to work in the screen-prin­ting. Fur­ther­mo­re, eve­ry year, on 8 March, she rea­li­zes a fema­le figu­re, and may­be in the futu­re, a col­lec­tion of tho­se works will be sho­wn in a per­so­nal exhibition. 

The illu­stra­tion areas are diver­se: the tra­di­tio­nal prin­tings, vases, woo­len hats, shirts, and bags. All of them cha­rac­te­ri­zed by a “super chro­ma­tic con­tra­st and fresh colors”. “It hap­pens that the enter­pri­ses look for me, some­ti­mes I am con­tac­ting them when I cap­tu­re a mes­sa­ge that dra­ws me in”.

“I star­ted my work using pen­cils – Valen­ti­na says – then I moved to the digi­tal desi­gn. The new fron­tier in digi­tal desi­gn is the ‘Pro­crea­te Ipad’ soft­ware. Digi­tal does not mean less hand­ma­de, but sim­ply made throu­gh a dif­fe­rent faster tech­ni­que, that allo­ws the 2.0 illu­stra­tor to bet­ter sei­ze the oppor­tu­ni­ties, make adjust­men­ts and give more spa­ce to crea­ti­vi­ty”. Valentina’s world is inha­bi­ted by plen­ty of ani­mals (which most inspi­re her arti­stic bent) and a few women. She pre­fers using Insta­gram, more than the other social media. Among the illu­stra­tors of the new gene­ra­tions, Valen­ti­na sta­tes, “the­re is a lot of coo­pe­ra­tion, with respect of our own exclusiveness”.

“We are not run out of work – she admi­ts – may­be we have some dif­fi­cul­ties in making the value and the right pri­ce of our pro­duc­ts reco­gni­zed, but over time I’ve lear­ned to find the right argu­men­ts and, when nee­ded, to say No”.